Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment Re:I wonder... (Score 1) 436

But they were talking about simple programs. Nth iteration of Fibonacci or leap year calculation aren't crazy complicated.

If you are trying to write:

int lessThan(int x, int y)
        return x

(above done without a compiler)

But instead write:

lessThan[int x, y]
        = x

That's all kinds of wrong but the logic is correct.

All this said, I'm starting to think that maybe interviews should include a Code Review section rather than code writing -- which you absolutely should be able to do without an IDE (though you may need to look up docs for functions).

Here's some code, which is reasonably commented (but maybe lacks an overall comment). Assume the functions being called behave correctly. What is it doing? How could it be done better? Can you think of a good reason it's done this way instead of the way you just recommended?

Comment Re:Redefining words so we can make a "discovery" (Score 1) 143

Can you repeat this in the vulgar/common language of the English speakers? I don't understand what you're saying here. What in the hell is 1 kp of potatoes? And why do you get to declare physical geology the arbiter of continents, not geology as a whole? And why is Eurafrasia necessarily a "Wrong Definition"?

This is not like how we differentiate between arms and legs. This is more like how we decide between saying you have five fingers on a hand of which one is a thumb, vs. saying you have four fingers and one thumb.

Generally identified by convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regions are commonly regarded as continents.

Comment Re:The decline in online stores (Score 1) 183

These online stores were popular in regions that collected the tax. That tax is now being collected per the law that was always there but was previously applied in an impossible way, won't change that.

Low-quality ripoff stuff is something that will damage them, I agree with that and have run into some of that BS lately. However, shipping affects non-online too, and "cheapest deal in town" is just market competition at work.

Comment Re:If Apple built a Hololens we'd never hear about (Score 1) 113

It's not a VR headset, it's an AR headset. Confusing them is like calling a cellphone "yet another telephone" and comparing it to a century-long history of landline telephones.

That doesn't mean there's no other AR headset out there, but it's really not a crowded field at this time.

Comment Re:Because Human Nature (Score 1) 388

Perhaps you were attempting to throw up a strawman pretending that intersectionality and gender studies is the only form of social science?

That's a little out of left-field; maybe not everything in life is about your beef with feminists or whatever.

The issue with the social sciences isn't that they are invalid, but:

1. They are not super extrapolatory into new conditions.
2. Economics does not say "humans want to do labour" it says "go robots".

The social sciences are not providing a united front on this issue. I am strongly of the opinion that human purpose does not mean you need a job that a robot could do -- just look at all the stay-at-home parents, or look at the idle rich (and note I'm not claiming all rich people are idle rich), or hell, look at the phenomenon of slackers. I am more into the idea of increasing efficiencies improving the lot of all, either by increasing total economic output, or decreasing the total human labour input, which several social sciences also point to as something that has improved the lot of human life.

Nuh uh is the remainder of your post, so not worth responding to.

That is so self-unaware it's kind of hilarious.

Except for your last line with is a flat out lie. Communication has evolved in nearly every culture since recorded history. So who's making up bullshit?

That's kind of the point. The normal state of a human is something we humans made up. With that said, I agree with your statement, but I am confused why you think making humans do the of robots is not anti-individuality and anti-liberty.

Comment Re:How is that supposed to happen? (Score 1) 388

Your thesis seems to confuse economic input and economic output. If a company is producing the same products or services, but doing so with fewer humans and more robots, it has identical economic output. There's no such thing as being economically productive in terms of the value of services consumed. That's being economically consumptive and it is a necessarily evil, not something to promote. When you arbitrarily increase economic consumption, that means nobody else can consume that economic output. Not another productive company or individual, for one, and also not unproductive individual concerns like leisure activity which always gets a little ignored in these discussions as though that weren't the whole point of all this.

If the robots can do the same thing materially better than humans (as they often can today, especially in rote manufacturing tasks, which is the entire reason this has been done), then switching to robots has increased economic output. The possible negative downside you are looking for is it might change the economic distribution, which is exactly what the tax plan proposes to address.

An efficiency limit is, by the very definition of efficiency, an attempt to make the cake smaller; an attempt to reduce economic output. Efficiency in economic production is basically always good (provided you are properly capturing externalities -- the usual counterexample is increasing efficiency by polluting the river etc. which is not good but is also not truly efficient when you take everything into account).

I don't think a per-robot tax is they way to do it but it's strictly better than what you're suggesting, because what you could equivalently do is distribute all the "wages" that would have gone to humans, to some lucky other humans that don't have to do any labour for it whatsoever, in the same proportion as before. Now the economic output is the same/higher and the distribution is the same, but humans get to either do some other economic activity or leisure activities instead of doing the job of a machine. That's better for everybody -- for the rich CEO, for the newly hired kid, for the single mother with a disabled child at home, the consumers down the line; everybody wins (or at least, doesn't lose) in that model. That's almost the same model you proposed, because it's still an efficiency limit, but it doesn't impose the requirement to invest in labour capital it imposes the requirement to invest in humans regardless of labour. Your objection to producing something from nothing is especially bewildering because in economic terms that's what labour is.

I do think that as time goes on, the economy will have to be restructured to accommodate all of this change and get to what right now appears as a utopia, but will inevitably just be the new normal for people born into that world. And I think that's a good thing.

I'm going to make a statement that is controversial: human labour is a bad thing, and therefore job creation is a bad thing although job creation has been generally a tradeoff that was worth it most of the time in living memory. There's two forms of job creation / job destruction: jobs created because of new economic activity, where the job creation is a necessary evil; and jobs created by the broken window fallacy -- totally useless make-work like paying one person to dig a ditch and another person to fill it in; or paying a human to do job that a robot could fulfill at least as well. For a long time, people focused on the first of those and praised job creation there because that was driving massive economic improvements in both the first and third world, for much of the 20th century at least. But some people are so into the cult of job creation that they are supporting the second like the luddites of old.

I would want the tax base to encourage overall economic efficiency -- which means, yes, robots replacing our jobs, but they're still taxing the ultimate beneficiaries using some monotonically nondecreasing income/tax curve (current progressive income tax fits that, so would a flat tax or a consumptive tax; I think a progressive income tax is better but I think any monotonically nondecreasing curve can be argued to be fair), and that's still the right and fair way to do it.

Comment Re:Facebook use plummets during business hours (Score 2) 116

Streaming video websites which are opened in the foreground tab of the active window, because visiting those sites is indication of user intent to view the video. That's also, of course, TV-like by design.

There's a fair argument to be made that this is not sufficiently compelling in the fact of sites that want to play annoying bullshit and pretend to be a streaming video website, but I also think this is a legitimate case that we have to acknowledge that we are breaking. There are ways around this, eg. sites like youtube could be on an optional curated whitelisted for play-by-default, or right click the play button and "always play for [domain]" though even that's risky if the bad guys honeypot you once into letting them always play.

If facebook plays video by default, and if I can't change that default, facebook is gone from my use. Unsolicited sound is the worst thing on the web short of actual malware (and sometimes it's part of malware), and it's the thing that made me reinstall adblock after going without it for years since I want the free ad-supported model of much of the Internet to survive, but the bad actors on those sound-by-default sites just overwhelms that desire.

Comment Re: Meaningless (Score 1) 745

What are you talking about? On the front page of the bulletin of atomic sciences webpage are several articles about how that's a very plausible solution whose main problem is political, not technical.

Excerpts, of which only the fourth of those options is somewhat negative on nuclear power:

Introduction: Nuclear power and the urgent threat of climate change
Wasting time: Subsidies, operating reactors, and melting ice
The incredible shrinking nuclear offset to climate change
What role could nuclear power play in limiting climate change?
Can North America’s advanced nuclear reactor companies help save the planet?
Safety first: The future of nuclear energy outside the United States
The case for American nuclear leadership
Kerry Emanuel: A climate scientist for nuclear energy

The top news is the atomic clock, but more time is spent on the exact issue you said they don't talk about.

Comment Re:I did (Score 1) 317

Nobody has debunked the gender pay gap, they just give more granular descriptions of it.

Eg. "Men get paid X% more on the dollar than women. X = A + B + C + D + E + F + ... + Z. A is explained by the percent of women who pause their careers for 7 years to have babies. B is explained by the pipeline issue where undeniable institutional sexism of the late 70s broke the pipeline meaning that there are fewer qualified 65 year old women in the workforce than 65 year old men. C is some contraindication where women actually get paid more for some reason in isolation, but is smaller than any other factor. D is due to the fact that fewer women graduate as doctors or engineers or lawyers, traditionally well-paid professions, than men. [blah blah blah]. Z has no strong explanation but falls in the margin of error."

Such an explanation doesn't debunk the gender pay gap, it describes it, and in some cases there's something to look deeper into (why do fewer women graduate as doctors or engineers or lawyers when more women graduate overall? And for that matter, why aren't more men graduating? These things can go both ways...).

Slashdot Top Deals

Space is to place as eternity is to time. -- Joseph Joubert